The airport is generally not a happy place. I was in one several times this weekend, and found a lot of frustrated people paying extra for baggage (go get ’em, Southwest Airlines!) and running for connecting flights. My husband and I were on four flights in a matter of 2.5 days, going to visit our daughter in college.
We somehow lucked out by flying Mesa planes each time, in which seats are constructed of the finest cardboard – curved just at the point of your upper back. All of us walked off those flights looking like Igor (prounounced Eye-gore) from Mel Brook’s movie “Young Frankenstein.” Walk this way . . . [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB4S7fhrdbA[/youtube].
During our visit with my daughter, I decided to relive the crazy days of youth and buy a watermelon bubble gum ball from one of those gumball machine pod stations you find in the middle of some malls. If anybody is interested, the green watermelon gumballs are the absolute best! And, for the measly price of 25₵ I bought myself a new crown on my upper tooth. That’s right, my 25₵ investment turned into a $1000.00 dental bill. I put my tooth in a baggy in my Marc Jacobs purse, as if they could somehow save it after a two-day trip home.
On the way home from the mall, my daughter drove her car into a cement piling in the garage at her apartment. I forgot that my parents used to pay for my wild days at college.
But we had a blast otherwise, and seeing your child in college is just the best thing ever. They have friends, they’re learning, they’re laughing – and those other things they do are never discussed and you’re usually miles away and don’t need to know about them. It’s perfect.
So, going home was bittersweet. My husband and I were tired from late nights and lots of walking, and knew we had a lot of work waiting for us at home. Standing in line at the U.S. Airways ticket counter behind about fourteen people didn’t make the experience any sweeter. Then I saw them. Two people, in their eighties, sitting in wheel chairs waiting to be taken to their gate. Obviously married, they held hands and talked to those who were helping them.
They looked people in the eye with eyes that danced, and they made the TSA guy laugh, which I found remarkable. When I made eye-contact with the gentleman he looked at me with eyes that twinkled and said “Never get old.” I informed him it was too late; old age was knocking at my door and just took my tooth. He and his wife laughed, and waved goodbye as they were wheeled away.
Their energy inspired me. I found happiness in the eyes of an eighty-year-old that looked the harshest part of his reality in the face (age) and laughed anyway. So, maybe happiness is as simple as finding delight in the people around you no matter where you might be standing. Yes, even standing in the line at U.S. Airways, waiting for a delayed flight with your tooth in your purse.